#bicycle-touring

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The Kosciuszko Alpine Classic: A Bikepacking Trip Before the Bushfires

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The Kosciuszko Alpine Classic: A Bikepacking Trip Before the Bushfires

The Kosciuszko Alpine Classic is just a name I came up with for a ride I did with my two good mates, Ben and James. We had organised a week off work in late October to go and spend some time in the Australian Alps. The route would see us riding primarily through the Kosciuszko National Park, taking in the wild brumby infested Long Plain, then going up and over the highest rideable trail in Australia, and also along some of the newest and flowiest single track built in the region. It was going to be classic!

Outside Online: I Loved Bike Touring—Until I Got Paid to Do It

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Outside Online: I Loved Bike Touring—Until I Got Paid to Do It

This read is one hell of a way to kick in the New Year. Got plans to do a bike tour? Don’t monetize it!

“In a race for your life from a belligerent madman, there is no worse getaway vehicle than a recumbent bicycle. Particularly on any sort of climb. At least that’s what Alan* and I discovered as we crept up a desolate stretch of Arizona highway, necks craning behind us to see if the knife-wielding drunkard was gaining any ground.”

Continue reading at Outside Online.

Deserted, Dusted, and Dolomite: A Central Death Valley Bicycle Tour

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Deserted, Dusted, and Dolomite: A Central Death Valley Bicycle Tour

The cold. Oh, the cold. Never before had I experienced 10º temperatures at night and 70º during the day. There I lay, in chrysalis, asleep in my bivy thinking to myself, “this is miserable.” That was two years ago, at the foot of the second tallest sand dunes in North America, nestled between the Last Chance and Amargosa Mountains in Death Valley National Park. Needless to say, it took a while for me to want to tour this unforgiving place again. There’s something transformative about touring in the Mojave Desert. The dryness, the elevation, the sand, the silt, the wind, the washboard roads; insurmountable obstacles really bring out the truest human condition, that Lovecraftian urge to get out and test one’s limits. Push it a little bit further and come out the other side. Had I known that this love for the deserted, the dusted, and that grandiose dolomite was merely biding its time as I shivered uncontrollably in my bivy sack two years ago, I might not have been so absolute in my cynicism. It was time for emergence.

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Kalamaja 2001

Kalamaja 2001 is a video showcasing a bikepacking adventure ride from St. Pauli, Germany to Kalamaja, an old part of town in Tallinn/Estonia. This trip took three riders the entire 1900 kilometres in 8 days through six countries to the beautiful east in northern Europe.

Jambi Jambi and the Soft Time Tour d’Idaho with Friends

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Jambi Jambi and the Soft Time Tour d’Idaho with Friends

It has been a month since returning from the most recent trip to the US. That’s 4 weeks to digest all the colours, flavours, energy and emotions that come from every foray into the wild world of the United States of America. For this write up I am picking my favorite part – Soft time Tour d’Idaho w. Friends – Not the official name but rather what I recall it as. It was a modified version of the Idaho section of the newly formed Wild West Route. Pioneers of fresh route from Bikepacking Roots!

Throwback Thursday: the 2014 Oregon Outback

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Throwback Thursday: the 2014 Oregon Outback

When we lost our image server bucket from 2014-2016, it was a devastating blow to the visual catalog of bike portraits, rides, events, and other cycling ephemera. I felt like a piece of my own body was taken away since so much time, energy, and in this case, physical effort was put into making that content.

That era, even though it was only a few years back, was a unique time in cycling. Instagram hadn’t quite caught on yet, not at the capacity it carries today. The whole gravel and bikepacking trend was just ramping up.

Erik Nohlin was working on the now-defunct Specialized Adventure lineup, including the AWOL – he was riding the “secret” Poler edition prototype at the time – and I was just beginning to fine-tune my abilities as both an athlete and photographer. I will admit, resurrecting stories like this is painful, partially because I feel like as a website, we’ve grown to present more refined ride Reportage, and also because it was a different time in my personal life. Yet, so many people request that these galleries get a re-up, so here we are on a Throwback Thursday post, digging up old content and re-presenting it. Rather than just re-inserting the images themselves, I culled the selection down and compiled all three ride reports into one. Enjoy!

Into the Caldera: the Bishop Volcanic Tablelands Overnighter

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Into the Caldera: the Bishop Volcanic Tablelands Overnighter

Long Valley, the Volcanic Tablelands, Lake Crowley, Mono Lake, and in general, the graben known as Owens Valley hold timeless stories beneath the silty soil, sage, and rabbitbrush. This area has long intrigued me, looking past its main attractions: Instagram-famous – or infamous – hot springs and world-class fly fishing. The landscape is rugged and steep, with unsuspecting silt traps enveloping your wheels up to the hubs as winds flex their prowess as shape-shifting forces spanning eons. Yet its magnetism, beauty, indigenous, and geologic history make it prime for bikepacking, touring, gravel riding, and road riding. It will take some planning, the right equipment, and some determination.

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Hi, Grandma

This video is a tribute to all the slightly-stressed grandmothers whose grandchildren are off riding bikes in distant lands…

From the End of the Road to the Kyrgyz Silk Road

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From the End of the Road to the Kyrgyz Silk Road

Three years ago when I was tossing around the idea of a long-term bikepacking trip, I had two primary options on my mind. There was Peru and the Andes of South America, which I had a tiny bit of familiarity with given my short previous stint there, and then the wild card… Kyrgyzstan. A small former Soviet country dotted with lakes and covered in glaciated peaks as tall as 24,400 feet. With a rich nomadic history due to its place on the ancient Silk Road trading route that passed through from neighboring China, it makes for an ideal locale to load up your bike and get lost in the mountains. So even while I was still in Patagonia, I was scouring maps of Central Asia for the possibilities that awaited in the faraway lands of the Kyrgyz Republic.

“Is this your property?” Lessons Learned from Bikepacking the Wild West Route

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“Is this your property?” Lessons Learned from Bikepacking the Wild West Route

Today is a hot one in southern Idaho, 90 degrees and rising.  My partner, Skyler, and I are stopped for snacks under the few shaded bushes along a lonely dirt road.

We hear the tell-tale signs of a lonely car and a white-haired woman drive towards us.  She slows down to approach us cautiously. Her window rolls down as the car stops and from inside we hear “There isn’t a road that goes through there.”

The End of the Andean Road

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The End of the Andean Road

When I started this trip through South America almost 3 years ago I had no idea what to expect. My bicycle “touring” experience could all be summed up in a tumultuous three week trip to Perú where I spent half of the time with my head hovering over a toilet while suffering from typhoid and a quick one week trip through Norway that resulted in an emergency room visit with frostbite on my toes that still affects me today. I was working on roughly a 5% success rate. Would I quit my “stable job” of almost ten years only to head off into the Andes all by myself and realize that this just wasn’t my thing? Come crawling back a few weeks later, asking for a do-over? I honestly had no idea and these were extremely realistic possibilities in my mind. All I knew was that I’d regret it if I didn’t try.

The Salted, Green, Grassy Hills: a Bicycle Tour Into the Marin Headlands

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The Salted, Green, Grassy Hills: a Bicycle Tour Into the Marin Headlands

Long before July’s sweltering heat, we were enjoying the pleasant month of March. I had been sitting on my porch sipping coffee when my friend Todd texted me, “I’m going to email you about the thing, so look out.” We’ve collaborated on many wild ideas, and Todd’s been a good friend for over a decade. I usually perk up when he reaches out about “things” because he’s a great adventure planner, so I kept a close eye on the inbox.  Lucky for me, it was an email saying that all the plans were coming together for an idea we had been tossing around for quite a while; a multi-day bike camping trip to uncover the inspiration for the Coal x Swift collaboration project with artist and illustrator, Chris McNally in the Marin Headlands of California.

California Golde: An Analog Bicycle Tour on Kodak 35mm and 120 film

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California Golde: An Analog Bicycle Tour on Kodak 35mm and 120 film

One year and a week ago, a vehicle’s faulty catalytic converter ignited roadside vegetation igniting a blaze that would consume 96,901 acres of Sierra and Sequoia National Forest, eventually closing Yosemite for the first time in the National Park’s history. This was the first “big” fire of the indomitable 2018 fire season that torched the Western U.S. and serving as an unwelcome backdrop to this 12-minute major motion picture.

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Drawn Away

After last year’s Solstice snow fest, the Coal Headwear and Swift Industries crew decided it was time for a redux, prompting them to take to the Bay Area’s rolling hills and coastal vistas:

“When illustrator Chris McNally invited us on a bicycle adventure through his expansive Northern California backyard, we knew we were in for a wild ride. Starting and ending at his Mission District studio, Chris would lead us on an epic 4-day tour of the SF and Marin County landmarks and landscapes that have inspired his work, and also inspired two great Seattle adventure brands—Coal Headwear and Swift Industries—to create “The Headlands Collection”.

“Drawn Away” is a story about creating close-to-home adventures with the freedom that bikes offer; about uncovering the hidden treasures and secret spots at the interface of the built and natural environments, where urban bleeds into rural, and rural into wilderness; about slowing the pace and making space for inspiration and creativity; and about the importance of building community one pedal stroke—and one brush stroke—at a time!”